2022 Kia Niro Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Powertrain, visibility, forward collision avoidance issues, and excessively loud alerts are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The new 2022 Kia Nero is the last of the Niro’s first generation. It’s available as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), a standard EV, and a hybrid gas-electric vehicle. But whatever your choice, owners are complaining about a malfunctioning powertrain, visibility issues, failing forward collision avoidance technology, and excessively loud alerts they label a safety hazard.

Click on other model years to view more problems: 2019   2020   2023

Most Common Problems

A total of 20 complaints were lodged with the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) between September 28, 2021, and September 6, 2022. These are listed under the 2022 Kia Niro and the 2022 Kia Niro Electric. While several name the EV or PHEV, it isn’t always clear which of the electrified powertrain options the complaints relate to. There aren’t any complaints registered under the PHEV SUV or the Hybrid, but that’s probably due to owners failing to specify their vehicles.

In a launch press release, Kia describes the powertrain options. They are the “no-compromise hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric powertrains” all of which “make transitioning to electrified mobility easy.” Ironically, one of the most common problems 2022 Kia Niro owners are reporting to the NHTSA is faulty powertrains. Another major issue relates to forward collision avoidance failures and “unintended acceleration,” with three crashes reported.

Visibility problems include windshield cracks. Additionally, several complaints cite a bad glare caused by reflective chrome on the center console or dashboard being an accident risk.

There are also complaints about various alarms being excessively loud and causing a safety risk. Other complaints include brake failure and airbags failing to deploy.

The Michigan owner of a 2022 Kia Niro Electric describes how the vehicle simply “quit” without warning. The EV was at 50% with 130 miles to go. While driving at 70 mph “all the lights started going on and off and I lost power.” He was unable to restart or get the car into gear for the hauler.

2022 Kia Niro Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Electrical System
Service Brakes
Air Bags
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Vehicle Speed Control
Electrical System:propulsion System:charging:port

Problems with the Powertrain

How a vehicle shifts and handles itself is due in part to the powertrain. While most new vehicles shift smoothly and run as intended, Niro owners are complaining that the powertrain of their 2022 Kia Niros malfunction.

An Ohio resident with a short-term rental describes how the Niro rolled backward down a “moderate slope” while in Park. He states that the only solution seems to be to manually set the parking brake.

An owner from Illinois also reports problems with the Niro rolling backward and forward when the car is shifted into Park. Describing what he says is a “potential vehicle hazard,” he says it “doesn’t happen all the time” but “it happens a lot.

My wife is the primary driver and I have only driven the car about 10 times. It has happened to just me twice in that time frame. It’s such a common problem that we have started trying to routinely activate the emergency brake, as the transmission is not reliable in shifting the vehicle into Park. During one incident, my wife forgot to use the emergency brake after shifting the car into Park. She got out, the vehicle began rolling in Park, and her leg almost got run over in an attempt to stop the vehicle.”

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Forward Collision Avoidance Issues

Three of the complaints that describe forward collision avoidance issues report crashes.

An owner from California was driving “extremely slowly” while pulling into a parking spot. “I applied my brakes but the car experienced unintended acceleration. The vehicle felt like it went into another gear, and it jumped the curb on its own, ran over some shrubbery, and crashed into the porch of a condominium which stopped the car. The airbags did not deploy as I was only going approximately 3 m.p.h. The sensors that should have prevented me from jumping the curb, running over shrubbery, and crashing into a building, failed. Kia Consumer Affairs performed a forensic inspection and found nothing, yet I am positive that this vehicle is unsafe to drive. There were no warnings prior to the incident. I could have been killed or hurt or killed others.”

Another owner from California drove over a curb in a parking lot to avoid another vehicle. She was driving at about 5 mph. “The vehicle accelerated to approximately 40 mph in a straight line and then crashed into four parked vehicles in a chain reaction, crashing into the rear end of the first parked vehicle.”

The car had “a crushed grill, hood, and fenders, all the way to the windshield.” The driver suffered a fracture to her C2 vertebrae on her neck, a fracture to her right foot, (and) a small laceration to her left knee. She was transported to ER by ambulance. The passenger “suffered bruises to her chest and shoulders from the seat belt.”

The complaint states “that the vehicle was equipped with front collision avoidance technology which had apparently failed to stop the vehicle.”

Visibility Problems

A problem with so many vehicles, an owner from Ohio reports a windshield crack that appeared without any form of impact. Over a 4-day period, it grew from 3 inches to more than 15 inches in length. Infuriatingly, the complaint states, they have called dealerships 15 times about the issue to get an inspection date. But nobody calls because. “We plan to just show up and demand it be inspected, without (an) appointment. The concern is that the crack continues to grow, and we are worried if there is a collision that it would cause our safety to be in jeopardy. According to the dealership, this issue has not been seen elsewhere, although several different models in different years have reportedly had a TSB put out for this issue (according to customer service at Corporate Kia on the first day of the issue).

All other visibility-related complaints describe how chrome on the dash or center console reflects the sun “and blinds the driver.” An owner from Colorado identifies the problem as the “dash chrome trim running across the dashboard.”

An owner from Washington agrees, stating that this is “a design flaw.” This complaint states, “The risk is that it impedes the driver’s vision and the ability to use the mirrors and sometimes to read the display. Impeding the driver’s vision can result in a crash.”

An owner from Michigan blames the “silver accent bar on the center console below the air vents” which “creates a major glare when the sunlight hits it. It reduces visibility by causing a distraction and feels as if you’re staring into the sun.” Additionally, the complaint states, “when the sunlight hits the screens on the dashboard and center console they become unreadable.”

Excessively Loud Alerts

Backup alerts are usually designed as a safety feature. But 2022 Niro owners are complaining that they can be a safety hazard.

An owner from New York describes how the low-speed warning alert is dangerous to pedestrians. This is because the speaker that emits the “beeping” warning is mounted on the front bumper.

“Several times, as I was backing out of a parking spot pedestrians have stopped directly behind the moving vehicle and could have been hit.” Additionally, the complaint states that “the tone that the car emits is also inconsistent with the usual and expected 1000 Hz tone that most people associate with backup beepers, causing further confusion to pedestrians. As implemented, the backup alert system on this vehicle does more harm than good and has the potential to cause a pedestrian accident because of the confusing, non-standard, and non-directionality of the sound.”

An owner from Michigan calls the backup alert that deploys when the car is shifted into reverse gear, “excessively loud and obnoxious.” This, the complaint states, is “a safety hazard.” It deploys whether the vehicle is moving or not. “The dealer tells me this is a ‘safety’ feature and that therefore the alert cannot be disconnected and the volume cannot be adjusted. My complaint is that this feature is not only not necessary, especially for a PHEV, but also in fact is itself. It is so loud and distracting it prevents the driver and those around the car from paying full attention to other circumstances.”

And then there’s the external backup horn. An owner from New Mexico states that it “is so loud you cannot hear the collision alert alarm if the driver window is down.”

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Do you think you have a lemon? If you do, you can sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Kia pay the legal fees of lemon law cases. As a result, every year, auto manufacturers are forced to buy back, replace, or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners.

So, if your 2022 Kia Niro problems cause you to think you might have bought a lemon, feel free (literally) to contact Lemberg Law on our Helpline. Alternatively, you can fill in a contact form and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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